Though barely a year old, Detroit Lakes' South Shore Park will already be getting an upgrade this summer, in the form of a 120x120 foot, handicap-accessible playground.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new playground was held Wednesday night, giving the public its first official opportunity to view the latest addition to the city's park system, which is at the junction of 270th Avenue and South Shore Drive on the south side of Detroit Lake.

Though the groundbreaking was originally supposed to include the addition of a multi-use sport court, construction of that portion of the upgrades has been put on hold until the Friends of South Shore Park have raised the remainder of the $210,000 necessary for Phase 2 of the park's development to be completed.

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The proposed layout of South Shore Park includes a new multi-purpose sport court (in green) and playground (in orange), each 120x120 feet, which are slated for completion this summer. (Submitted photo)
The proposed layout of South Shore Park includes a new multi-purpose sport court (in green) and playground (in orange), each 120x120 feet, which are slated for completion this summer. (Submitted photo)

"The ordering of the playground equipment was authorized at the last City Council meeting, but the sport court and fencing were not," explained Detroit Lakes Park Board Chairwoman Karen Skoyles, who also chairs the Friends of South Shore Park, the entity charged with raising the necessary funds to complete improvements at the 5.5-acre park.

Skoyles added that the group has raised about 67% of its $210,000 goal, and hopes to secure the remaining pledges needed in time to complete the sport court before the end of the construction season. The sport court will be the same size as the playground, 120x120 feet, which should provide sufficient space for pickleball, tennis and even half-court basketball.

The playground, meanwhile, is meant to be fully handicap accessible, with a texturized surface underneath and access ramps above, making all the equipment as wheelchair friendly as possible. A zipline will also be included.

Phase 1 of South Shore Park's development, which included a shelter equipped with bathrooms and a prep kitchen as well as a paved parking lot and walking trails, was completed last summer, according to Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Shawn King.

King says other future improvements may include the addition of swings to the playground as well as seasonal flooding of an existing stormwater pond for use as an ice skating rink during the winter months.

Since the park's inception, the city has invested nearly $925,000 in its development.